"Selfish" is a Word Women Need to Embrace

I stumbled across a great little kindle negotiation guide last week entitled The I Win Conflict and Negotiation Approach by Asaf Shani.

Though we're "mutual benefit" or "interest based" negotiators here, I have always hated the term "win win" because it has the scent of marshmallows roasting over an open fire wafting up from it.

This book's central message - "you have to be selfish" - follows short, cogent, example-based reasons why your bargaining partner is likely to self-serve. You, says Asaf Shani, need to be self-serving too or you'll just keep depriving yourself and your business or your family of the benefits you deserve.

This is a message women need to hear because women, unlike men, tend to distribute the benefits "fairly" around the table, often to their own detriment. Women also face social sanctions when we appear to be too self-serving as the recent blistering commentary following a woman philosophy professor's counter-offer amply demonstrated.

That said, men and women can, if they follow the prescriptions of this valuable little book, distribute value most efficiently between them while assuring themselves that they are getting as good as they get. And they can do so not by compromise but according to both bargaining partners' needs, desires, preferences, and, priorities (interests).

After all, once interest-based negotiators create as much value as possible at the bargaining table, they still have to divide it among themselves. And "cutting the baby in half" has been bad for both genders since King Solomon suggested it as the solution to the most famous Biblical dispute to all time.

Replace "Selfish" with "Enlightened Self Interest

For women readers who recoil at the word "selfish," be assured. With the tools provided in this book, you'll put yourself in the driver's seat where you can choose to maximize benefit for yourself and your family or to give your bargaining partner the benefit of the deal.

Everyone, men and women, can benefit from pursuing a negotiation strategy with enlightened self-interest at its core.

Put this little book in your back pocket the next time you need a raise, are seeking a promotion or are simply asking for a break on your dry cleaning bill. You won't be disappointed.

Victoria PynchonComment